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[duh-mes-ti-keyt] /dəˈmɛs tɪˌkeɪt/
verb (used with object), domesticated, domesticating.
to convert (animals, plants, etc.) to domestic uses; tame.
to tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild.
to adapt (a plant) so as to be cultivated by and beneficial to human beings.
to accustom to household life or affairs.
to take (something foreign, unfamiliar, etc.) for one's own use or purposes; adopt.
to make more ordinary, familiar, acceptable, or the like:
to domesticate radical ideas.
verb (used without object), domesticated, domesticating.
to be domestic.
Origin of domesticate
1635-45; < Medieval Latin domesticātus (past participle of domesticāre), equivalent to domestic- domestic + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
[duh-mes-ti-kuh-buh l] /dəˈmɛs tɪ kə bəl/ (Show IPA),
domestication, noun
domesticative, adjective
domesticator, noun
nondomesticated, adjective
nondomesticating, adjective
overdomesticate, verb (used with object), overdomesticated, overdomesticating.
undomesticable, adjective
undomesticated, adjective
well-domesticated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for domestication
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Furthermore, the domestication of wild animals useful to man results in very great practical value.

  • It is not certain when or where elephants were first reduced to domestication.

    Domesticated Animals Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
  • The domestication of animal life marked another great step in the long ascent.

    The Pivot of Civilization Margaret Sanger
  • Hand in hand with the domestication of animals, agriculture begins to develop.

    Woman and Socialism August Bebel
  • It will be shown when the different kinds of aquatic birds are described that each has its special place and use in domestication.

    Our Domestic Birds John H. Robinson
  • Now, these factors are operative also in domestication of animals and cultivation of plants.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • Although in the wild state it is a migratory bird, in domestication it soon becomes too heavy to fly far.

    Our Domestic Birds John H. Robinson
  • No environment is so new and peculiar as domestication and cultivation.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • Hence it follows that the principles of domestication are important for us.

British Dictionary definitions for domestication


verb (transitive)
to bring or keep (wild animals or plants) under control or cultivation
to accustom to home life
to adapt to an environment: to domesticate foreign trees
Derived Forms
domesticable, adjective
domestication, noun
domesticative, adjective
domesticator, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for domestication

1774; see domestic + -ation.



1630s, of animals; 1741, of persons, "to cause to be attached to home and family;" from Medieval Latin domesticatus, past participle of domesticare "to tame," literally "to dwell in a house," from domesticus (see domestic). Related: Domesticated; domesticating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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